Supreme Court sets hearing for Texas abortion ban, does not block temporarily

Justices will not be deciding the constitutionality of the law but will focus on the unique enforcement measure within the bill.

Updated: October 22, 2021 - 4:56pm

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The Supreme Court on Friday set a date for oral arguments on a challenge to the Texas abortion law.

Justices will not be deciding the constitutionality of the law, but will focus on whether the unique enforcement mechanism within SB 8 prevents federal officials from filing suits against the measure.

The ruling from the high court allows the controversial abortion ban to remain in effect, while further litigation concerning the merits of the law continues through the courts. 

In a dissent, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor criticized the court's decision to not block the bill pending oral arguments.

"The promise of future adjudication offers cold comfort, however, for Texas women seeking abortion care, who are entitled to relief now," Sotomayor wrote. "This equates to a near-categorical ban on abortions beginning six weeks after a woman's last menstrual period, before many women realize they are pregnant, and months before fetal viability."

According to the Associated Press, the court's decision comes as it prepares for arguments in a different abortion case involving Mississippi, which challenges the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade.

Arguments in the Mississippi case are scheduled for Dec. 1.